Film seeks to change attitudes toward autism

A critically acclaimed independent documentary about two men with autism creates new understandings and perceptions of autism. The film, “Wretches & Jabberers,” will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, in the Palmer Lipcon Auditorium, Curtin Road, Penn State University Park.

In the film, directed by Geradine Wurzburg, Tracy Thresher, age 42, and Larry Bissonnette, age 52, embark on a global quest to change attitudes about disability and intelligence. Determined to put a new face on autism, the men travel to Sri Lanka, Japan and Finland, where at each stop they challenge public attitudes about autism and issue a hopeful message to reconsider competency. More information about the film can be found at and the official film trailer is at


After the film, from approximately 8:15 to 8:45 p.m., Thresher and Bissonnette will hold a question-and-answer session with the audience, followed by an informal catered reception in the Zoller Café, in the building adjacent to the Palmer Museum of Art.


The film will be shown in movie theaters across the country during April in honor of autism awareness month. It is sponsored by Penn State's College of Education's Diversity and Community Enhancement Committee (DCEC), the University Libraries' Adaptive Technology and Services and Education and Behavioral Sciences Library; Center for Disability Studies; departments of Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, and Learning and Performance Systems; the College of Arts and Architecture; Rock Ethics Institute; and Smart Start Centre County.


The film and discussion are free and open to the public. An interpreter and a captionist will be present throughout the event.


If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, contact Susan Hayya at 814-865-0284 or in advance of the event.


Last Updated April 19, 2012